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Mar 20 2015

eSports Weekly (Week of 3/16-3/22)

This week we have the winners from Katowice, we recap/preview an important week in LCS, and discuss the latest announcements from ESL. This and more in this week’s eSports Weekly.

Katowice Winners

ESL One Winners: Fnatic

ESL One Winners: Fnatic

There was a fantastic collection of top-tier competition at Katowice this past weekend, and here are all the winners.

In the ESL One Katowice CS:GO tournament, Fnatic took home the title in a near perfect championship run. Fnatic soundly beat Vox Eminor and Na’Vi in their group stage, earning one of the group winner seeds in the main event. In the quarterfinals, they defeated PENTA Sports 16-8 and 16-7 on Inferno and Cache, respectively. In the semis, they shut down Virtus.Pro, the defending Katowice champions, in front of their hometown crowd, with an overtime win on Cobblestone followed by a solid win on Mirage. Fnatic then met fellow Swedish squad Ninjas in Pyjamas in the grand finals, where they won a very close opening game on Dust2 16-14, before finally losing their first game of the entire tournament on Cache. Fnatic got out to an early lead on the deciding map, Inferno, and eventually stifled a late, nearly magical run by NiP to clinch the series with a 16-13 victory.

While North America came up short in ESL One, with both American teams failing to make it out of group stages, the IEM LoL tournament was a different story. TSM, the top NA LCS team, ran through some of the best teams in Asia, including CJ Entus, yoe Flash Wolves, and in the grand finals, swept WE Tigers 3-0 to take home the championship.

In the IEM Starcraft II World Championships, Protoss player Zest of KT Rolster took home $68,000 and 1500 WCS points when he won the championship this past weekend. With the addition of these 1500 points, Zest catapulted himself up to the #5 spot in the WCS rankings.

Lastly, a relative newcomer to the Hearthstone scene, Jon “Orange” Westberg, shocked the competitive card game world by making his way from the open bracket to the grand finals of the Hearthstone Legendary Series Katowice tournament, where he swept Jason “Amaz” Chan in three games to win the tournament, with his Hunter, miracle-oil Rogue, and trusty Warrior decks.

LCS: The Push Towards Playoffs; Two Weeks Remain

IEM Katowice winners: TSM

IEM Katowice winners: TSM

After a hiatus that saw the top North American team take down some of the top Korean and Chinese teams, the competitors of the LCS return to the rift with just two weeks left in the spring season. While some teams sit confidently near the top of the rankings, assured that they will get a spot in the playoffs, others sit right on the cusp, and these next couple weeks will decide who goes to playoffs, who goes to the summer split, who has to face some of the top Challenger teams, and who will be relegated to CS.

Starting in the EU scene, MeetYourMakers, after going 0-6 in weeks three through five, have gone 3-3 in the past three weeks. This week, MYM came up huge with a win over Gambit on Thursday, but lost against a stellar H2k team, and were the first to be eliminated from playoff contention. MYM now has to fight to avoid relegation. Unicorns of Love pulled off a massive comeback in one of the more exciting games of the season against Fnatic, going 2-0 this week, and taking one more step toward clinching a playoff spot. H2k lost their first game of the week to Elements, a team right on the cusp of playoff contention. The loss to Elements ended H2k’s incredible win streak at eight, but H2k’s win against MYM clinched them a playoff spot, along with Fnatic and SK Gaming. Due to technical issues with Riot, we’re unable to analyze the important Elements vs Gambit game before this column goes live.

In the NA, the only thing that’s essentially set in stone is that Team Coast will be relegated to the Challenger series. The only way this doesn’t happen is if Coast wins all four of its remaining games, and Winterfox loses all four of its games, as their records would tie, and Coast would have the advantage thanks to the 2-0 head-to-head record. Coast would also have to defeat Impulse, Liquid, and TSM for this happen. Winterfox goes into week eight with yet another roster shuffle, this time bringing Gleeb back to play support, and moving Altec back to his AD Carry role. Gleeb played support for WFX during the first four weeks before Imagine joined the team. WFX and Dignitas both sit at 5-9 and look to make late pushes to avoid playing in the promotion tournament. Three teams sit at 7-7 in the 5th, 6th, and 7th spot: Gravity, Team 8, and Liquid, respectively. Above them is Team Impulse (8-6, 4th place), Cloud 9 (9-5, 3rd place), Counter Logic (10-4, 2nd place), and the IEM world champions, TSM (11-3, 1st place). With all these records being so close, all of the teams (except Coast) have a shot at playoffs, so these last two weeks are key for everyone.

ESL: Hearthstone Season Two Prize Pool Announced, and eSports Coming to Theaters

Season one winner: SilentStorm

Season one winner: SilentStorm

With the inaugural season of the ESL Hearthstone Legendary Series already behind us, ESL and Blizzard are shuffling the cards and replenishing their mana once again, with the announcement of a $35K prize pool and a new tournament system. These new tournament changes include the implementation of a double-elimination system into the Open Challenger cups, adding a Legendary Series week featuring invited pros and open cup players, a Redemption Tournament, and a Last Chance Cup. You can view the details about the upcoming season, including the format of the matches here.

“ALL WORK  ALL PLAY: The Pursuit of eSports Glory” is an upcoming documentary by Patrick Creadon that “offers a behind-the-scenes look at the planning and production of ESL’s Intel® Extreme Masters.” The film will premier in July and is the first part of the eSports in Cinema series. The premiere will be hosted in ESL’s Burbank studios in California, and will be followed up by a Q+A session and live gaming session.

Ralf Reichert, Managing Director of ESL, said of the project:

“I think this documentary and the broader partnership is symbolic of how far we’ve come. When we started out, I dreamt about us filling stadiums, but I never entertained the idea of filling cinemas.  Everyone who works with Intel Extreme Masters here at ESL is passionate about esports and I think this documentary and the development of esports series programming in cinemas is a testament to that growth. I’m very excited to see esports in cinemas for years to come and can guarantee I’ll be the first to buy a ticket.”

Radar Blips

  • CS:GO: Titan announced this week that they would not participate at this weekend’s Gfinity Masters event in London, due to a death in the family of one of their members, Kévin “Ex6TenZ” Droolans. We wish Droolans the best during this tough time.
  • CS:GO: A couple roster changes affecting some top teams and top talent this week. First, Maikelele, after departing from NiP earlier this month, has joined the LGB eSports roster. LGB will debut with Maikelele at the Copenhagen Games next month. starix, who’s played for Na’Vi since 2009, is moving to a coaching position, as the organization seeks to adjust their efficiency and performance going forward. flamie, who played with HellRaisers at Katowice, is standing in.
  • Dota 2: During a StarLadder best-of-three series between Cloud 9 and ScaryFaceZ, the second game set a record for longest competitive game, at 200 minutes and 32 seconds. That’s three hours and twenty minutes of Dota 2. SFZ won that game to force the series to a game three, but hats off to both teams for such an amazing feat.
  • CS:GO: Valve announced via their CS:GO developers Twitter feed that they will replace Nuke with Train in the active duty pool in their next operation.

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